“Tel Aviv has a great, laid-back atmosphere, and for me, it’s earned a place among the big ones like New York, London, or Paris that can’t be ‘ticked off’ by a single visit, where you’ll want to go back again and again, where not only are the sights interesting, but every square inch gives you a great feeling, where there are so many restaurants, bars, cafes, and charming places that you just want to try and see more and more: it really has become a huge love affair for me. The whole city has such a calm, relaxed, youthful atmosphere that even for just a few days you can completely disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
We didn’t do a lot of ‘tourist stuff’ here – meaning we didn’t focus specifically on the sights, but the beach, the markets, the restaurants, the old town, and the skyscrapers were all right there. Oh, and genuinely every single street had such a great atmosphere – we couldn’t get enough of it all. I can’t recommend this city enough. We did take one day-trip away, and even if you only have a short time in Israel, I would definitely recommend this to everyone…” (2018)
Tel Aviv beach life is so relaxed and casual that it also permeates the street scene on the main avenues and their immediate surroundings. The very long but not too wide Dizengoff Street has lots of friendly corner cafés with shady terraces, as well as high-quality supermarkets, and most of all the crowds of good-natured pedestrians give it a particularly pleasant atmosphere: most are between 30-50m and there are an amazing number of families with small children. It is striking how actively young dads are involved in walking the children. Although many people in Tel Aviv could be said to ‘live for today, the importance of family and a conscious commitment to the future is also fundamental to them.
In Israel, the inhabitants of Tel Aviv are for the most considered to be more relaxed and secular, and at the same time the most effective in pursuing a career and material prosperity. Of course, looking more closely, the tourist discovers the social differences, the gated communities of the super-rich (property prices are insane), and the living environments of the poorer (darker-skinned) Israelis, guest workers, and migrants at the bus station in the south. In the city center, a striking number of people speak Russian and French (having moved here from those countries). Overall, Tel Aviv, with a population of 440,000, is more like a big city in a western Mediterranean country. Unfortunately, that’s true in terms of prices as well. For tourists from less prosperous countries, it can be an expensive destination, although there are plenty of opportunities to adjust to a tighter budget.” (2018)
“There’s no magic in Tel Aviv, yet it’s a colorful place, where the ruined house defaced with graffiti stands next to the newly built super hotel, which is then followed by another pretty shop window. As construction progresses at full speed, newer and newer floors are being built, while a homeless man crouches beneath a tree, a middle-aged woman plays the violin for a few shekels, security guards stand at every second entrance, and long lines wait for falafel.
Everywhere you go, you catch a glimpse of countless little details: there are huge plastic bottle collecting containers on the streets, and a mobile library pops up on the beach. One striking thing: there are many patched-up houses, with shabby furniture lined up on the street front, the gap-toothed shutters, and the all-encompassing sea of wires.
Despite appearances to the contrary, I have never felt as safe as in Tel Aviv. Of course, the price of this is the inconvenient airport security check and the searches in the malls and nightclubs, but I never thought that security could provide such an uplifting feeling.
There are plenty of sights in Tel Aviv, and since I didn’t want to miss anything, I rented a bike, downloaded a sightseeing app, and used it for six hours a day to fit everything in three days. Of course, I couldn’t do it all – this short time was barely enough to go through a few menus, get to know a few locals, admire the view from the beach, sight, enjoy the markets, walk around Jaffa – and plan when I’ll be able to come back.” (2018)